Words That Can Hurt You

Whatever one’s position on the dubious assumptions behind the cliché “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me” and its unfortunate persistence in many societies, these are not assumptions which the Empire shares. Indeed, it has a fine selection of words to describe an entire taxonomy of words that can hurt you, sorted by the specific manners in which this is so.

Today, though, we concentrate on one specific subset of these: the traälathkháln laras (from alathkháln, “the pain of new understanding”, and laras, “word”). These are the words which can hurt you because, Eldraeic being a precise language, they require you to confront and resolve the fuzziness of your assumptions in order to voice them.

Specifically, let us consider the English word “hypocrisy”, “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform”. This is a term which in one word combines motivations from peccadillo to abhorrence, and acts from near-passive to motivated malice, and one whose broad spectrum is leveraged in many a motte-and-bailey argument with the intent that one’s conscious fraud will be considered an unconscious peccadillo, and one’s opponent’s vice versa.

Eldraeic, meanwhile, has three top-level terms which cover this territory, and does so in such a way that while one might argue over which is in play in a given instance, it is at least clear which claim you are making.

These terms are:

qané tracorlíë niril (lit. “insufficiently robust soul”): that hypocrisy which derives from weakness; giving in to a forbidden temptation. Usually albeit not always a peccadillo – let he who has never sneaked a second doughnut cast the first stone – but in any case, not involving any deliberate intent to deceive, nor implying that your commitment to the principles you espouse is insincere. Merely that you struggle to be perfectly adherent to them.

tracorlíë maurqártill (lit. “soul-fraud”): that hypocrisy which is deliberate; espousing one thing and choosing, in a state of talcoríëf, to do another. Not a peccadillo, as you might expect of any compound word which has the component maurqártill in it. Definitely implies insincerity and false commitment; almost certainly fighting words.

traürlis corlíë (lit. “false-soul”): Implies that you would have to have principles in order to falsify them, and therefore that you cannot be a hypocrite since no-one would ever have believed anything you claimed about having them in the first place. A verdict of damnation. Break this one out, and someone’s walking away from the conversation dead.

Other Related Words

  • urlis: false, logically untrue; oppose talis.
  • maurlis: from mahar “make” + urlis, therefore “manufactured falsity”, or lie
  • maurqártill: from maurlis + qártill “price”, therefore “liar’s price”, or fraud1
  • corlíë: soul, (poetic) mind-state
  • niril: robust, durable

  1. Obviously, not all fraud is as simple as “lying about prices”, but ultimately, all fraud does involve deceiving someone about the exchange-value of something, even if not directly expressed in monetary terms.

As She Is Spoke

Some more words and phrases, since I’m feeling linguistic this morning:

esélmór: remembrance; memory-token (from esél “remember” + mórés “token, representation”); an object kept to stimulate the memory.

ethé: soft, yielding, comfortable

feäl qalasír: necessity (internal; an irrefusable demand of the soul); from feäl – abstraction operator – + qalasír “driving energies of the individual”.

galráësél: to recall with the body, as in trained reflexes or physical skills (from galrás “flesh” and esél “remember”)

galshín: to carve (cut meat), a meat-carving knife

galshíndar: one who uses a meat-carving knife; butcher

hatheän: ephemeral, brief (from hath “time” + eän “flicker (of flame)”).

húëll: animal (originally, anything which is living and moves by its own will)

kalat: plant, sessile lifeform (originally, anything which is living and does not move itself)

kithémór: heart-token (from kithel “to feel, to emote” + mórés “token, representation”); an object kept to express its owner’s passions.

layés: longing, yearning, to long /yearn for

misan: a day-night cycle; specifically, one calendar “day” composed of an arísú “day” and a múrna “night”, although not necessarily in that order. See also -mis, suffix for day names.

(Traditionally, the cycle was accounted from dawn to following dawn in the Old Empires region, which became the basis of the Harmonious Calendar; however, when contact with the Underside was made, the cycle there was accounted from dusk to following dusk, thus preserving identity of date, i.e., the 9th day of the month would consist of the same hours on both Upperside and Underside, save with the day and night reversed to night and day.)

mithseir: mathematician (from mithá “number(s)” + idaseir “seer, scryer”).

nistrazik: ore (from nistraöth “metal” + azik “rock”)

shín: to cut, a cutter (including knives and all other objects which cut)

“súnavár an-arídamaen”: “brightening sunsets” (from súnar “bright” + arídan “sun” and maen “to fall, one which falls”); a euphemism for “dead”, referring to cremation and the scattering of ashes into the wind.

“traäman cadair”: the Dragon Throne (from aman “dragon” + cadair “throne”).

“traülestxí ithal”: mathom, purposeless object (potentially with function, but without purpose); from estxí “function”, diminutive form of estxíjir “wyrd/destiny/dharma” + ithal “object”.

velcál: bread; technically any product made from a dough of ground grains (desh). Seen often in the compounds el velcál ap aesaer (bread and salt) and el velcál ap galrás (bread and meat; a common type of sandwich).

velmahav: baker, to bake (from velcál “bread” + mahav “make”)

Rebellion! Insurrection! Vocabulary! (Also, superheroes.)

More questions from over on G+:

How do the words “insurrection” and “rebellion” translate from Imperial to Earthian? Here they have a few too many overtones of “You should be happy that my boot is embracing eternity with your face”, something tells me that those connotations would not exist there.

Well, the answer there is “with great care, mostly, because of the connotations”.

For “rebellion”, you have your choice of three common phrases in the Eldraeic:

  • travocíë livrás, which glosses as – more or less – “citizen default”;
  • tradaranan paléëf, which glosses as “coadunate self-defense”; or
  • tradaranan ca-paléëf, which also glosses as “coadunate self-defense”, but in super-sarcastic sneer-quotes.

The first implies that you had a sovereignty contract (not, obviously, an implicit social contract which is no contract at all) and you defaulted on it, rather than exercising whatever exit option there might be. Implicitly, therefore, you’re rebelling against a Society of Consent, and as such that has all the “You Rebel Scum!” connotations you might care to include.

The second implies you’re rebelling against a non-consensual government, which is just a fancy form of collective self-defense and might as well be called such.

The third, which is used rather more often, also implies that, but in the fine spirit of The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized denotes that the speaker thinks that you’re just as unpleasant a bunch of slaving thugs as the people you’re notionally rebelling against and are, indeed, primarily motivated by a desire to inflict your flavor of nonconsensual oppression rather than by an earnest desire for liberty and her handmaidens.  Connotations vary by tone and attitudinals, from weary cynicism to “fuck you guys right in the ear”.

For “insurrection”, you can probably get closest with ulmúrahain, although since that most accurately glosses as “war to unmake the emergent order (of society)”, can in theory attach to anything with enough participants that fails to respect the rights of person and property from an occupation up through a riot to an outbreak of civil war, and implies that the people participating in it are hosti sapienti generis who should probably be exterminated forthwith on general principle, it may be a little harsh for many of our uses of the word.

Also, do they have a recognizable superhero genre? In both the Soph With Powers, an Modern Myth senses.

Yes, with the caveat that dressing eccentrically, developing theme-based gadgetry, and fighting something loosely definable as some sort of good fight or other is at least halfway to being a respectable profession (they usually call those ones “adventurers“), which does change the perspective a bit.

But there is no denying the popularity of the transmedia franchises built around Captain Cosmos, the Orichalcium Fist, the Accomplished Perfect Academician, Lady Fusion, the Steel Engineer, etc., etc., etc., and feel free to consult Exalted‘s list of Alchemical names for other appropriate monikers.

(They do have a disproportionate number of the gadgeteer types – say, the Orichalcium Fist, who is essentially the local interpretation of the Iron Man archetype – given their predilections for smart people and shiny things.)


Are They Insane, Or Are They Insane?

(Not resharing this with Google+ for Reasons, and I’d be obliged if you’d play along with me, there.)

I find myself in need of some specific words in English.

Specifically, to represent a distinction in Eldraeic in general, and in the professional jargon of psychedesigners, sophotechnologists, memeticists, lawyers, the Eupraxic Collegium, and so forth in particular, between two distinguishable states which English tends to lump indistinctively together as “insane, crazy, etc.”:

1. Irrationality having its origin in an organic or mechanical dysfunction of the brain, or a chemical imbalance, or environmental toxins, or intolerable stress, or other such cause; for which, obviously, one has no more ethical responsibility than a boulder does for its fall from the cliff-top; and

2. Irrationality having its origin in voluntarily taking on and submitting to some ghastly, corrosively autotoxic memeplex – Dominionism, Wahabism, Scientology, racial supremacism, revolutionary Communism, membership in a political party, etc., etc., that has gone through the rational cognitive capacity of your brain like chlorine trifluoride through an unlucky rocketeer. For which – well, you thought it, you bought it, savvy?

Any thoughts on existing words that might have the proper subtextual spin?